Are you a canner? A fermenter? Is the word crock in your vocabulary?
On a scale of freezer jam to large-batch kimchee production I’m a once-a-year-pickler-canner and very occasional jam-maker. I’ve always been a little intimidated by fermentation mainly because most recipes call for twenty pounds of cabbage and like, two years of your life to finish a project. But I’m proud to say with the help of my friend Autumn and her new book Beyond Canning I can now call myself a fermenter and I can’t wait to do it again!
The fermenting recipes in Autumn’s book focus on small-batch fermentation using 1 quart jar and a super-cool tool called an air-lock system that fits right over the top. Fermenting such small amounts takes no time at all and is super easy to essentially chop up some ingredients, toss with salt, and let the air lock do it’s magic!
I chose to try the Lime Curtido recipe. I’ve always loved that crunchy, slightly sour slaw that comes with pupusas but I’d never tried to make it myself. Truth be told, I didn’t even realize it was basically like an El Salvadorian version of sauerkraut.
The curtido takes about two weeks to ferment and I would take a taste here and there to see how it was progressing. It started off sharp, spicy, and salty with all the flavors poking out like spikes on a cactus paddle. By the end of the two weeks however, everything had mellowed and melded the cabbage and carrots getting sweeter and the jalapeños not so spicy, making a delicious accompaniment to tacos, burgers, and of course, pupusas.
The pupusas are filled with black beans and are an excellent contrast to this slightly spicy, sour curtido.
I’m so excited that so many of you love this Pupusa recipe as much as I do. Here’s what some of you are saying:
Yum! Made up a bunch to freeze and send in my daughter’s lunches for school. She loves pupusas! -Lorna
Added some cilantro, lime juice, and seasoning in with the beans for a bit more kick. -Lin
Pupusas turned out great thanks to @holajalapeno! -Rose
Beyond Canning is so much more than fermenting. There are sweet preserves, interesting pickles and even a recipe for a Buckwheat-Oat Jam Crumb Bar that I’m dying to try. Autumn’s steady, down-to-earth voice shines through making seemingly complicated recipes crystal clear and totally doable.
If you’d like to see some other Beyond Canning recipes like Pink House Kraut (made with red cabbage, beets, and ginger) or Bloody Mary Pickled Eggs check out these other sites that are part of the Beyond Canning Book Tour!
3/7: Food in Jars
3/8: Punk Domestics
3/10: Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
3/11: Snowflake Kitchen
3/14: Good. Food. Stories.
3/15: Heartbeet Kitchen
3/16: Brooklyn Supper
3/17: The Briny
3/18: The Preserved Life
3/21: Hitchhiking to Heaven
3/22: Hola Jalapeno
3/23: Cook Like a Champion
3/24: Local Kitchen
3/25: Dolly & Oatmeal
Black Bean Pupusas with Lime Curtido Recipe
Lime Curtido recipe taken with permission from Beyond Canning by Autumn Giles. For step-by-step instructions with photos on how to make the pupusas check out this post from NoshOn.It A Note from Autumn: The vast majority of curtido recipes online ignore this slaw’s history as a fermented food and market it as a strictly vinegar-based pickle. Although I love a good pickle as much as the next girl, the misclassification completely ignores this traditional Salvadorian contribution to the kraut canon. Curtido is commonly served alongside pupusas, thick tortillas stuffed with cheese, meat, or beans. Although this ferment starts with green cabbage, carrots have an equally starring role. The carrots’ sweetness is the perfect foil for the spicy jalapeños. Plain old white onions, which don’t often show up in ferments, are a surprise standout here. Their flavor mellows as they ferment, almost like it would in a sauté, while maintaining a crisp, raw texture. I will almost always pass on raw onions, but these are something else entirely, and I find myself craving their flavor often. I’ve read of some curtido recipes that include lime juice, but this one includes the zest because I love the bright, concentrated citrus flavor that zest brings to fermented foods.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Yield: 1 quart curtido + 8 papusas 1x
For the Lime Curtido:
- 510 grams green cabbage, shredded
- 115 grams carrots, thinly sliced
- 85 grams white onion, thinly sliced
- Zest of 1 lime
- 12 grams salt
- 30 grams jalapeño, thinly sliced
For the Pupusas:
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 recipe Simple Black Beans, mashed
- Vegetable oil for cooking
For the Lime Curtido:
- In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, onion, lime zest, and salt. Reserve the jalapeños for now.
- Work the salt into the vegetables using your hands for about 2 minutes. If you’ve ever massaged kale for a salad, that’s the motion you want to employ here. In slightly less technical terms, it’s basically smooshing. The vegetables should begin releasing their liquid.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir the jalapeños into the shredded vegetable mixture.
- Use your hands to pack the curtido tightly into a quart mason jar, a handful at a time.
- Once all the curtido is packed into the jar, push it down with your fist, the back of a wooden spoon, or both, a few times. Now the curtido should be just covered with its own brine.
- Now, wash your hands! You don’t want jalapeño hands.
- Secure the jar with an airlock and allow to ferment for up to 2 weeks. Begin tasting for doneness after 3 days.
- Cover, label, and refrigerate for long-term storage
For the Pupusas:
- Combine masa harina and salt in a medium bowl. Add water and mix until combined, let sit covered for 5 minutes.
- Squeeze some dough in your palm, dough should feel like soft play-doh, not too dry that it cracks when you squeeze it but not too wet that it squishes through your fingers and sticks to the side of the bowl. If it is too dry add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is the right consistency. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10-15 minutes.
- Take about 1/3 cup of dough and use your palms to flatten into a 1/2-inch thick circle. Place a tablespoon or so of the black beans in the middle. Fold dough up over beans and pinch together to make a ball.
- Gently flatten the ball back into a 1/2 inch patty, being careful not to rip open the dough. You can take a piece of dough from the outside of the pupusa and cover any rips or tears. Form into a circle and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent from drying out. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or comal over medium heat for 5 minutes. Grease the pan with a teaspoon of oil, using a paper towel to coat it all over.
- Rub a little oil all over the outside of a pupusa and place on the hot pan. Cook for 5 minutes on one side or until toasted and a little charred in a few places. Flip and cook on the other side. Repeat with remaining pupusas.
- Serve hot with the Lime Curtido and sour cream if desired.
One More Thing
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